Reading in a Foreign Language

A BUNCH OF BOOKS OR A COUPLE OF CLASS SETS?

Brett, an experienced Spanish teacher in South Carolina, writes: Hi Bryce, I was just reading your article about 9 Steps to FVR. I'm trying to build up my reading materials. I basically have none at my new school. Would you recommend prioritizing based on getting a bunch of different books or buying class sets of a couple of select books? Good question. I would go with a bunch of different books. Here's why: Students acquire more language when they can choose their own reading materials. The free choice aspect gives them more buy-in and more engagement. When they can decide what [...]

NEW BOOK: MEANINGFUL READING COMPREHENSION CHECKS

This book will make your life easier and your teaching more effective. It is a compilation of the best comprehension checks for reading that I have discovered over 30 years of teaching and researching Free Voluntary Reading with my students. Whether you call it FVR, Sustained Silent Reading or Light Reading, when students read on their own magic happens. When it is taught well, self-selected reading is the best way to differentiate instruction and engage students. This book will show you how to do it--even with reluctant readers. With these best trade secrets from expert reading teachers you will be [...]

READING RESULTS

319 books read completely in Spanish so far this school year in four classes of Spanish I and one class of Spanish III. This is a chart I asked student aides to make last week. Students were asked to indicate each book in Spanish they have read with a post-it note. They wrote their name and the title of each book they had read so far this school year. Only completely read books counted for this measurement. There is no contest, no prize, no score, no grade, no credit and therefore most likely no cheating. Just pride and learning. What [...]

YEARLONG READING PLANS FOR LEVELS 1 & 3

These are the reading assignments from the course syllabi in my level 1 and level 3 classes. Most of it is self-selected reading, even in level 1.Level 1 students can read on their own and read an amazing amount once they know the high frequency verbs. This plan really works for my students because it is self-differentiating. Every class we teach is a multi-level class, regardless of the course title... the students spread out all over the place in ability very quickly and allowing them to read what they want is the best i have found to accommodate those differences. [...]

LEVEL I KIDS JUST CAN’T READ & WON’T READ!

Ahem... er... well... Nope. They want to learn and they will read if we encourage and equip them. This is the book check out list from our classroom library for the second full week of school. 23 books checked out so far. Most of these kids are level 1 Spanish students with no exposure to the language before this school year. They have learned many of the high frequency verbs that are in the novels with classical TPR so far and we have done 8 "Persona Especial" interviews, but that's about it, besides three useful "Passwords". They have had  four [...]

AUTHENTIC TEXTS

Preparing for the reading portion of an upcoming workshop, Mary writes: "One question that I know will pop up is the use of authentic texts in our classrooms--it's in our standards and we have to assess it--that will be the main focus of our work this year. Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated." My Response: The authentic texts issue always comes up. It is a legitimate concern and we need to address it. When authentic texts are defined as written by natives for natives and that is the only thing we feel we can use, we put ourselves in [...]